Much has been made about the Mets unwillingness to bring phenom Zach Wheeler to the bigs until his Super Two status is cleared. With the Mets floundering like they are, the financial impact outweighs the ball club’s obvious need for what Wheeler can potentially bring. Another quality starting pitcher option at the very least. One of the many problems the front office faces is that the Super Two cutoff status remains cloudy as they need to focus in on the unknown 2015 ruling. Odds are that it will mirror the 2012 status which was set at 2 years, 139 days. If this is accurate then Wheeler could be jumping on a plane to Flushing as soon as next week. The Mets will most likely edge on the side of caution to allow some wiggle room and keep him in Vegas until early or mid June. What they gain by holding him back is the ability to go an extra full year without Zack being able to file for arbitration. Regardless of his performance, the Mets will only need to pay him the league minimum for that extra year of service. This is a flawed mechanism setup to help small and mid market teams protect home grown talent. It is unfavorable to young, talented players but it is easy to understand why organizations (like the Mets) continue to take advantage of it.
It seems that this is the most logical road for the Mets to take with Wheeler but it cannot hide the fact that this team needs help at the starting pitching level. Free agent acquisition, Shaun Marcum has been brutal. He is now 0-3 for the season and has not been able to last through five innings in any of his first four starts. The 31 year old Marcum has an ERA close to 9.00 and has given up twenty four hits in fourteen innings. That’s right he has only pitched 14 innings in four games! That is garbage. He missed thirty nine days in spring training with a pinched nerve and troubled shoulder. These injuries ultimately required the cortisone shot heard round the world. Marcum shrugged off the shot even stating that cortisone shots had become a regular part of his spring regimen. Red flag? I think so. Marcum battled shoulder and elbow problems in 2012 for the Brewers and it seems the shoulder problems have spilled over into the opening of 2013. If he is not headed to the DL then he should be headed to Las Vegas because he is not getting it done in Queens. It’s not like there aren’t options besides Wheeler in waiting.
While in Vegas last week, I attended a 51s game on Tuesday night and watched a brilliant pitching performance by tall, righty Collin McHugh. All we here about these days is how the thin air in Vegas and the PCL inflates the batting averages and slugging percentages of the players contesting there. That wasn’t the case Tuesday when McHugh dominated the Round Rock Express. He is 2-2 with an ERA of 2.98 this season so far. Despite the fanfare and following Wheeler receives and justly deserves, McHugh has been the best pitcher for the team. He has pitched 42 inning over 7 starts (a full 2 innings per game better than Marcum) striking out 31 while only walking 7. On Tuesday he went seven innings giving up only five hits and whiffing five. Stories abound about pitchers not being able to get movement or cut on their breaking balls in the dry, Vegas air yet his curve was nearly untouchable that night. His hook looked damn good from my dirt cheap seats right behind home plate. There’s nothing holding McHugh in Vegas besides a one way ticket purchase because he pitched over 21 innings for the big league squad last year. So what’s the holdup? The Mets need starting pitching help and McHugh is ready to provide it. Bring the kid up and let’s see what he can do.
|Nasty curve for McHugh|
It wasn’t just the pitching that was impressive in Vegas. The bats were hot too, specifically the one of first baseman Josh Satin. Satin has 37 hits and is batting .303 on the year while slugging .492. He has an OBP of .418 and has smacked 5 dingers. His 20 RBI tie him for the team lead with Wilmer Flores since Andrew Brown has already departed for parts elsewhere. He hit an absolute bomb to the opposite field in the first inning Tuesday in a game which the 51s ended up in winning in you guessed it (walk off style!) 3-2 in the ninth. Satin also made some quality plays on the diamond that kept his team in the game in the late innings. I am not even sure if the word struggling accurately describes Ike Davis at the plate this season. He is hitting .190 with 4 home runs and 9 RBIs. It’s not just the lack of home runs which is troubling. He is not getting extra base hits either. He has only 2 doubles among his 20 total hits and has struck out 35 times in 105 at bats. Davis is striking out 1 out of every 3 times he strides to the plate. Why is he still in NY? The Mets served Lucas Duda a slice of humble pie last year when they sent him down to Triple AAA. Rumors have surfaced that this pissed him off as Davis was kept with the club. Duda is now playing with a chip on his large shoulders this year and this move seemed to have pay dividends for the Metsies. Maybe it’s time for Davis to face the same fate? It is obvious he is making efforts to tinker with his stance and swing but why do it at team’s expense? Send him back to the minors to get his head straight and figure this out. Bring Satin up and see if he can continue his torrid hitting. When Davis shows consistency at the plate bring him back up and get him in the lineup immediately. He is a insanely valuable piece to this lineup but he is only hurting them right now. If Satin hits at the show the Mets now have yet another bargaining chip on the table for landing a pitcher or outfielder. It’s a win win for everyone.
|Hot to trot – Josh Satin|
Harvey and Niese are doing their best to carry this team. The bullpen has pitched admirably but is immensely overworked. Those forty year old arms plus however old Atchinson is are not going to last all season at this rate. Help is needed and Collin McHugh has the talent and confidence to bring it. The Mets may feel there is a risk demoting Ike Davis could damage a fragile psyche but at the end of the day he is a professional baseball player. He is getting paid to perform at a high level but is not holding up his side of the bargain. He is going to pull through his slump and get back to his 30 home run form but why fix it at this level when each at bat matters so much? Send him back to get his shit straight and allow Satin to provide some pop while he is hot. The Mets moved their affiliate to Vegas for a reason and it’s time to roll the dice and start gambling on the talent there.
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